The Friends of Hylands House

Registered Charity No 1059969

Our History

[I/Mb 403/1/21] reproduced by courtesy of the Essex Record Office

...had lain sadly empty and neglected for many years
Hylands Logo
The Friends of Hylands House was formed in 1995.  A group of local people decided to get together with an aim to assist and encourage the development of the House and Park and to raise funds for the preservation, maintenance, repair and improvement of the Estate.  This followed the local Council’s decision to embark upon a restoration plan for the House which until then had lain sadly empty and neglected for many years.  In the early years the Friends made cash donations directly to the Council’s ‘Hylands House Restoration Fund’, however in 1998 it was agreed that one of the Friends’ undertakings would be to purchase selected period furnishings, with special consideration given to finding artefacts directly associated with the Hylands Estate.   It has never been the aim to fully furnish the House and make it into a Museum, as the House has to host many functions of all descriptions, but to furnish the House with key quality items to blend in and enhance the restored rooms.  As you enter the House you cannot fail to notice the stunning life size marble replica of “Venus with Apple” commissioned by the Friends in 2002.  The original statue was commissioned in 1816 by Pierre Labouchere who was the owner of Hylands at the time. As you walk around the House you will see other beautiful items that the Friends have purchased.  We have also bought items for the Park, Pleasure Gardens and the Adventure Playground.

Until the café in the Stables Visitor Centre opened, the Friends’ Sunday teas attracted many regular visitors and were one of the main means of fund raising.  Now, we have the Friends’ Second-hand Book Shop, manned by a team of more than 100 Friends volunteers, to raise funds.  In addition we hold events in the House so that members can enjoy entertainment of different kinds by talented local artistes in the beautiful Drawing Room. Friends’ evening events in the House always include a wonderful buffet supper as well as a cash bar, and in February 2014 we held our first ‘Afternoon Tea and Concert’.  This was a very successful occasion with light classical music played on the harp and flute, followed by a delicious afternoon tea in the Banqueting Room.
Several coach trips to other attractions and sites of interest are organised each year for Friends (and their friends). These trips are always well attended and are thoroughly enjoyed by all participants. 
The Friends’ Christmas event for members is special – it is an occasion when we get together to enjoy a Christmas-themed meal in the grandeur of the House followed by Christmas carols around the piano in the Drawing Room. 
Each March or April the Friends hold their Annual General Meeting in the House, chaired by the President.  After the business meeting, a special guest speaker is invited to give a short presentation.
Please see Acquisitions Page for some of the items purchased by FoHH.

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